I had a hard time deciding what to write this column on because I’m not sure who bothers me more this election: “Pro-lifers” planning to vote Liberal/NDP/Green or pro-lifers insisting it’s “Conservative or bust.” I decided to write about both, in a “fun” exercise of considering which mindset is more infuriating.
Let us look at Exhibit A. The Liberal, New Democrat, and Green parties do not permit any pro-lifers to run for them, i.e. they are actively thwarting those attempting to end the greatest human rights injustice of our time. Therefore, it’s inexcusable for a “pro-lifer” to vote for them. Those that do are hurting the efforts of the pro-life movement. They’re part of the problem. It’s that simple. I shouldn’t have to elaborate on this point, but tragically, I do, thanks to the Archdiocese of Toronto, because it is implicitly suggesting that voting Liberal/NDP/Green could be seriously entertained by devout Christians.
They’re hosting a debate on Oct. 3 featuring these three parties, along with the Conservatives and People’s Party of Canada. I find it bizarre that they will provide a platform to pro-abortion parties so hostile to Catholic teachings that they bar faithful Catholics from serving as their candidates, and, at the same time, not invite the Christian Heritage Party to participate in this debate, despite the fact that in many ridings, the CHP will be the only one offering pro-life candidates.
To make matters even worse, the archdiocese has put out backgrounders on a number of issues: the environment, poverty, newcomers, democratic participation. Underneath the heading “Human Dignity” (whose separation from the rest of the issues is inexplicable given that it underlies the Church’s position on all issues), euthanasia and abortion are referenced, but also health care, poverty, quality education, and affordable housing. I get the strong impression that the Church is implying that these issues are comparable, and if so, voting Liberal/NDP/Green could be seen as justified. There is no mention that abortion and euthanasia are among the list of non-negotiables that Catholics – indeed, all Christians — may not compromise on when voting.
As a charity, the Church is legally restricted from partisanship, but better the Church not say anything at all than risk misleading people into thinking that it could be licit to support evil parties.
If the Church is leading its members astray, surely, the debate is closed. There can’t be anything more frustrating than this, right? Perhaps, but now I present Exhibit B: Those aggressively arguing that all pro-lifers must vote Conservative this election lest we end up with Justin Trudeau for another four years.
By all means, vote for a pro-life Conservative candidate. It may even be defensible to vote for a Conservative who isn’t pro-life. Do not, however, try to shame into betraying their consciences principled those pro-lifers who intend on voting for a pro-life candidate of another party or not voting at all due to conscientious objections. It bewilders me that some of the very people fighting for conscience rights for physicians and other professionals would do so.
I recognize that they know that in order for their strategic vote to be worth anything, they must convince enough people to vote like them. Ironically, I too vote as I wish others would — according to my deeply held beliefs of right and wrong. Imagine what difference we could make if we all voted for the finest candidates, or not at all, if no candidate passes muster.
Yes, Trudeau is indeed the villain this election, but the scariest thing about any villain is not what they might do, but what you might do because of them — their potential to corrupt your moral character. We should not allow Trudeau to intimidate us into losing our integrity, or compromising our convictions out of fear of the consequences of adhering to them. Are these things just luxuries of those not really concerned with saving babies? I don’t know — why don’t we ask Thomas More?
If Andrew Scheer is failing to meet the standards of certain pro-life voters, then instead of trying to lower those standards, we should be urging Scheer to rise to the occasion. Some of us have been doing that, despite getting accusations that we’re sowing division/helping Trudeau win/ignorant about politics.
So, you tell me: Which is more exasperating: “pro-lifers” who vote to abolish our voice in Parliament or those pro-lifers bullying those in the movement they don’t agree with? (And if you haven’t figured it out already, this little exercise wasn’t meant to be fun at all; just an alternative to pulling my hair out.)